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SOTA Activation: North Paulina Peak - Deschutes County, Oregon - October 28, 2020

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Between October 21 and October 30, 2020, we visited the Sunriver / Bend areas of Oregon.  The cold but clear weather allowed us to Activate 8 SOTA summits in 6 outings.  This report is one of a series, and deals with the Activation of North Paulina Peak, W7O/CE-014.  Prior to coming to the Bend / Sunriver area, I had contacted Ron, W6PZA, who lives in Bend, Oregon.  I had seen on-line that he had been a very consistent Activator in this area, and reached out to him to possibly arrange some joint Activations.  Happily, things worked out, we hit it off, and wound up doing 2 joint Activations - this one, and also Burma Road HP, on October 25, 2020, and the subject of another Activation report.

North Paulina Peak is accessed from within the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, a unit of Deschutes National Forest.  See: Deschutes National Forest - Newberry National Volcanic Monument - Deschutes NF (

The peak is approximately 23 miles SSE from the center of Bend, OR, as the crow flies.  Driving south from Bend on US-97, one passes the northern anchor of Newberry Monument in Lava Butte, a perfect cone shaped cinder volcano which is also a SOTA summit.

From Highway 97 take the Forest Service Road 21 towards Paulina Lake Lodge & Newberry Caldera.  The exit is well signed, and FS 21 is approximately 13 mile of pleasant driving through pine forests and range land.  The road gains 2,150 feet elevation to TH parking at: 43.7124, -121.2762.

Cross the outlet stream from Paulina Lake, and turn left to find the TH.  Follow Crater Rim Trail #3957.  Navigation is generally very easy, but be aware that this trail is multi use, and depending on time of year, expect bicycle traffic.  We only saw 2 bike riders all day, at the very end of our trip, just before returning to the TH.  At 2.6 miles, 43.7434, -121.2590, you have a choice to follow the more faint "Upper Trail" or stay on the "Main Trail", #3957.  We missed the trail junction, which is relatively indistinct, while in idle chatter, and stayed on the main trail #3957.  By the time we realized this, we decided to stay on the main trail, make our way to the summit, and return via the alternate, "Upper Trail".  See map, below.  The relatively open slopes, devoid of any serious underbrush, made the short sections of XC travel a pleasure.  It took approximately 2 1/4 hours to reach the very pleasant, lightly treed and nearly flat summit.  Ron's GPS device had the aggregate RT milage at 8.2 miles with 1,530 feet elevation gain.  There is more than ample space for any number of Activators within the broad AZ.  The temperature had been 18 degrees F at the US-97 & FS-21 meeting point in the morning.  By the time we started operating, the temperature was in the mid 50's, with very little or no wind.  By the time we returned to Sunriver in the late afternoon, the temperature had risen to 73 degrees F.  This was an astounding swing of 55 degrees F in a matter of about 8 hours.

We set up for HF and 2M operations, taking turns on 20M, 40M and 17M so as to not interfere with each other. In this very pleasant environment, we had a lot of fun in over 1 1/2 of operating, interspersed with lunch breaks and photo ops. 

On the return trip, we opted for the "Upper Trail" loop, which was quick and pleasant in the warn afternoon sun.  We were back at the TH by 3:15 PM.  There we said our goodbye's to Ron, W6PZA, as our trip to Central Oregon would end the following morning, as we headed back to W7W Land.

As our last hurrah, we decided to do a quick drive-up activation of Paulina Peak W7O/CE-009, which was too close and easy to bypass!  The summit views from Paulina Peak were astounding, and we were able to look across Paulina Lake to North Paulina Peak where we had been a just 3 hours before.  All together a wonderful day with 2 solid Activations in a beautiful environment and great company.  We will definately be back!

Thank you to all my Chasers!